Age Range: 5 - 7
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This western-tinged tale stars Matilda the cat, one of the worst waitresses ever. She always gets orders wrong, is messy and uncoordinated. The reason for this poor performance is her constant imaginative storytelling. Customers easily forgive her work deficiencies for the excitement of "lassoin' bad guys or wrestlin' twisters." Burt, the doggy diner owner, likes that the customers are kept in their seats in anticipation of each creative tale. Then the health inspector cites the diner for all sorts of violations, all due to Matilda. In order to save the diner, Matilda straightens out and becomes the perfect waitress. This pleases only the health inspector; everyone else is dismayed by the lack of storytelling and excitement. When a robbery occurs at the diner, Matilda's storytelling saves the day. Cartoonish illustrations are toddler friendly with lots of bright colors and visual jokes, but the Western style of the writing seems arbitrary as the diner is in a city. For a humorous picture book story with western flair, try The Three Little Javelinas (1992), by Susan Lowell, instead. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0375824030
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Knopf